Ybor City and the downtowns of the 'Burg and Tampa have long been tried and true go-to spots to see great live music from bands that are both nationally loved and waiting to catch a break. But with high ticket prices and age restrictions, it's harder for younger (read: under 18), equally hip music fans to go see a great, affordable set without trying to find a warehouse or house show (read my story on DIY shows here).
Epic Problem in east Tampa has long been a good all-ages venue, but Mojo Books & Records — an often overlooked space in the university area of North Tampa — has quickly become thee spot to see touring bands during that delicate period right before late night talk shows, big publications, and major record labels come calling.
On Friday night, Mojo continues the tradition of hosting heavily buzzing outfits when they welcome Speedy Ortiz to fill the book & record store with a brand of indie rock n' roll that hearkens back to the golden days of bands like Chavez and Jawbox.
Eager ears were introduced to the Western Massachusetts-based quartet last February via the Real Hair EP, but frontwoman Sadie Dupuis & Co. arrive supporting a full-length debut, Major Arcana, which is awash with plenty of distorted guitars ("Tiger Tank"), quietly disturbing arrangements ("Gary"), and more than enough soul-searching confessional lyrics ("Plough").
Arcana's second single — "No Below" — is a great example of the seductive nature of Dupuis' delivery and her band's ability to back it up with muscular, twisted, melodic crunch. Have a listen below. The band plays Mojo this Friday with another breaking east coast outfit, Grass Is Greener, as well as a pair of super-solid locals (Y Los Dos Pistoles and Sweet Divorce). The show is just $8 and kicks off of 8:30 p.m.; Mojo is located at 2540 E. Fowler Ave in Tampa.